Over the course of crafting a 20-album catalogue and architecting more than 30 Billboard No. 1 singles as a multi-instrumentalist, songwriter and producer, Brian Culbertson has charted his own unique course in music. Label him jazz and he makes a funk record. Call him an R&B artist and he drops an acoustic jazz trio collection. Brand him pop and he creates a 32-minute New Age opus. And you’d be hard pressed to name another instrumentalist of his ilk who can mount an elaborately designed concert production that will keep him on the road for three consecutive months.
Culbertson burst onto the scene in 1994 with a chart-topping album that he recorded in his college apartment featuring keyboard-led contemporary jazz tracks. “Long Night Out” landed him a lengthy record deal and signaled that a star was born.
Flash forward to present day, his aptly titled “XX” album – those X’s are Roman numerals – finds Culbertson making a record unlike any of his previous releases because of its diversity. “It’s a mix of things that I’ve done throughout my twenty records. There’s a lot of funky instrumentals, some pop-sounding tracks, a couple slow jams, straight-ahead jazz, gospel, some vocals, lots of horns and some straight-up FUNK!” said the Chicago-based Culbertson. “The album is very much a mixture of some modern sounding programming along with live instruments, too. Real drums on almost everything mixed with programming. Definitely a cool sound.”
Recreating that cool sound live for fans is the best part as Culbertson and his band embark on The XX Tour, playing more than 70 concerts around the US (now postponed until Spring of 2021). In addition to performing much of the new album, the setlist includes cuts from Culbertson’s hit-filled songbook along with a segment showcasing songs from “Winter Stories,” an album released last fall that placed him in an acoustic jazz trio setting for the first time. An exuberant performer, Culbertson spends months in preproduction meticulously working to create stunning visuals – staging, lighting, wardrobe and effects – in order to put on a mesmerizing show each time he takes the stage.
Possessing style, panache and a savvy business mind capable of moving the needle in music and beyond, Culbertson founded and curates the annual Napa Valley and Chicago Jazz Getaways, which have attracted guests from all over the globe to experience his premier events.
Whether you’re listening to music from “XX” on record or live in concert, you’re hearing an eclectic, entertaining and engaging set from an artist at the peak of his power.